Mayfair apartment, London | HASA Architects

HASA Architects has transformed the first floor of a five-storey Georgian terrace in London’s Mayfair to create a distinctive and elegant new home for a private client. 

Photography: © Simone Bossi

The contemporary design updates and modernises the property while respecting the original character and design intent of the Grade II listed building. The restrained design focuses on space and light while a series of sensitive insertions combine with a carefully selected material palette to create distinct new spaces alongside the original features of the property.

HASA Architects have responded positively to the limitations of the listed building, taking cues from the fabric and layout to inform and enrich the design, ensuring that old and new co-exist peacefully. Months of intricate work involved the removal of years’ worth of paint and the restoration of the original mouldings and dentilled cornices.

‘We wanted to create a new layer through a series of freestanding volumes that could be reversed with minimal alteration to the existing building fabric. The architectural details have been meticulously restored to reveal the quality of craftsmanship while the new layout allows the original proportions of these fine rooms to be experienced as intended.’ said the team. HASA Architects was founded by Charlotte Harris and Mark Stevens in 2015.

Restoration of the original marble surrounds was undertaken to remove the stains that had resulted through decades of smoke damage and neglect, the timber surround was repaired and cleaned to reveal the simple ornate moulding.

Insensitive additions have been removed and the principal floor, or piano nobile, has been expertly repaired to reveal its original proportion, structure and dignity.
Careful attention was paid to the distances and junctions between the historic and contemporary layers to ensure old and new quietly co-exist and complement each other both visually and programmatically.

It was important that the programme did not dominate the space. This is successfully achieved through the design’s use of minimal interventions in the form of freestanding joinery, panelling, and sliding and folding planes. These new insertions, along with the alterations, can be clearly read as a new layer that respects the Grade II listed building while enhancing light and spaciousness.

The new mezzanine floor, housing the master bedroom, has been lined with solid American oil-finished white oak with the soffit in a polished plaster. The choice of materials breaks down the mass of the structure itself while the steel plate wall that encloses the staircase ‘anchors’ the mezzanine to the ground floor.

The colour and material palette is purposefully pared-down to create a harmonious and soothing environment that focuses on space and light to bring the property to life.

The new stair with its steel wall forms the dramatic centrepiece to the property. The clever design dealt with the narrowness of the existing stairwell by extending entrances to the stairs at either end in plate steel resulting in a sculptural blade-like insertion. This interweaving of old and new is further enhanced by the dark matt of the steel against the neutral tones of the original plasterwork and mouldings.

The new dressing room/en suite is hidden behind a concealed door. A simple black volume, lined in sycamore veneer and finished in a high lacquered gloss, has been used to separate the spaces while providing a contrast with the limestone panels to create a more intimate feel.

The master en suite on the mezzanine floor features a huge sculptural stone basin. The carved basin forms the centrepiece of room, acting as a dividing element within the space. 

An Arabescato marble island is at the heart of the kitchen. Conceived as a solid block, it creates a space to cook, entertain and relax. Its domestic scale also offers subtle relief to the grand floor to ceiling heights of the hallway and front drawing room. A series of sculptural boxes have been designed to provide storage for services and appliances. Set away from the walls and above the skirting, the boxes allow for architectural details to remain uninterrupted and pass through the cabinets without being adapted or altered.
Careful attention was paid to the distances and junctions between the historic and contemporary layers to ensure old and new quietly co-exist and complement each other both visually and programmatically.

Materials, finishes and lighting combine to breathe new life into the listed property. High gloss sycamore veneer panelling, natural oak flooring, Venetian plaster and Arabescato marble have all been chosen to help create contemporary, elegant spaces.

Source: HASA Architects